Pay-it-forward chains are pretty much universally hated (except by the people who start them). Workers and customers alike have complained about these chains.
For workers, it makes their jobs more difficult by making “everything confusing.” And for customers, it puts them in the awkward position of having to either continue the chain by paying for an order that may be way more expensive than theirs or end the chain with them—and probably feel like a horrible person.
As it turns out, they can also be day-ruining.
Dunkin’ customer and TikToker Samantha Kromphold (@samkromphold) shared why one customer’s well-intended gesture ruined her afternoon in a TikTok that amassed 352,000 views.
“To the very nice girl ahead of me at Dunkin’ who bought me this coffee, thank you. You did ruin my afternoon, though,” Kromphold, who has 51,000 followers, says.
Kromphold proceeds to explain why.
“See, I wasn’t there for coffee,” she says. “I was there for gift cards.”
Kromphold says she has social anxiety, and this put a spanner in her plans.
“I was practicing what I was going to say to the girl at the counter,” she says. “I am someone who cannot just handle change on the fly like that.”
While she wasn’t even intending to purchase a coffee, the customer in front of her assumed that’s what she was going to order and bought it for her, making her feel obligated to just walk away with a coffee. “I love coffee, but I could not get the gift cards,” she says.
i have social anxiety ✨✨✨♬ original sound – Samantha Kromphold
Viewers really resonated with Kromphold’s experience, sharing that they, too, freeze when outside factors throw their internal scripts off.
“The way I would leave without the gift cards and only the coffee cuz im thrown off,” one said, sharing they would do exactly what Kromphold did had they been in her shoes.
“Are we related? I’d have to go to a different Dunkin’s completely on a different day,” the top comment on the video reads.
“More than once I’ve been handed the wrong thing at a store, because they didn’t hear what I asked for. When they said ‘this?’ I’m like yes, thank you. Then leave all defeated,” another viewer shared.
A fourth said that while they would have still gotten the gift cards, they would have “apologized about 1,000 times for the inconvenience.”
Another viewer shared an alternative way Kromphold could secure the gift cards. “Why not go to a grocery store and get a Dunkin gift card? Saves the hassle of all that talk,” they suggested.
It’s unclear if Kromphold was eventually able to secure the gift cards, but she did tell one commenter, “I’m literally going to have to try again tomorrow.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Kromphold via Instagram direct message and TikTok comment.